Subodh Gupta joins million-dollar league with Christie's sale

Malaysia Sun
Friday 13th June, 2008

Artist Subodh Gupta, known as New Delhi's Damien Hirst, has moved into the record making million dollar bracket alongside Francis Newton Souza and Tyeb Mehta with the sale of his untitled installation of steel pots for $1.2 million at Christie's sale of Indian contemporary art here.

Gupta, Souza and Mehta were the stars of Wednesday's sale and set new records. Souza's 1955 work 'Birth' was bought for $2.5 million by the sister of Tina Ambani, who runs the Mumbai-based Harmony Art Foundation. Mehta's untitled painting, part of a dramatic series he has done to mark the miseries of rickshaw pullers, went for $1.9 million, beating his previous record price of $1.6 million at a New York auction in 2005.

Of the 111 lots, Christie's sold 78. Although some works by Souza, Syed Haider Raza and Maqbool Fida Husain failed to find takers, young artists like Gupta and T.V. Santosh helped Christie's make a profit.

Gupta is becoming increasingly popular among international buyers. His work at Art Basel, the world's largest fair of modern and contemporary art that is held in Switzerland, caught the eyes of buyers and collectors last week. His seven metre wide 'Triptych' sold for $1 million.

Indian art in general had a higher profile than before at Basel this year. New Delhi dealers Nature Morte sold everything from a set of three sculptures by Gupta for about $1 million to 'Enemies' Enemy 2', a painting by rising star TV Santosh, bought by British collector Frank Cohen for about $170,000.

Last month, Subodh Gupta's painting of a man pulling an airport luggage trolley was auctioned by Christie's for a record price of almost $1.2 million in Hong Kong, which set a new record for India's younger contemporary artists.

Subodh Gupta now holds two such records at Christie's and has become the youngest Indian artist to enter the million-dollar fold.
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